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George Williams

Sir George Williams (October 11, 1821-1905), was the founder of the YMCA.

Williams was born on a farm in Dulverton, Somerset, England. As a young man, he described himself as a "careless, thoughtless, godless, swearing young fellow" but eventually became a devout Christian.

He went to London and worked in a draper's shop. Appalled by the terrible conditions in London for young working men, he gathered a group of his fellow drapers together to create a place that wouldn't tempt young men into sin. That place was the YMCA.

Williams was knighted in 1894 by Queen Victoria. After his death in 1905, he was commemorated by a stained-glass window in the nave of Westminster Abbey. Sir George Williams is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.


A plaque for George Williams 13-16 Russell Square.


  • Binfield, Clyde George Williams and the Y.M.C.A.: a Study in Victorian Social Attitudes 1973 London, Heinemann ISBN 0434070904


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